NEWS & ANALYSIS

Increase in schools with 0% pass rate shows failures of DBE – Baxolile Nodada

MP says Covid alone cannot be blamed for systematic failure of dept

38% increase in schools with 0% pass rate shows systemic failures of DBE

23 February 2021

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that there has been a 38.4% increase of schools with a 0% pass rate – from 13 in 2019 to 18 in 2020. The DA will be conducting oversight visits to these schools.

While the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic may have played a role in this increase, the reality is that it is also indicative of the deep systemic failures of the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

Maybe the Department can take a leaf from the Western Cape where they will find not a single school with a 0% pass rate and where the percentage of learners that have passed Mathematics with an average of 40% or above, sits at 54.4% – almost 10% higher than Gauteng who is second at 45.9% – and Physical Sciences at 57.5%, again the highest in the country.

The Department must interrogate these results honestly in order to seek meaningful ways to improve the education system to better prepare learners for a successful future.

While many schools and teachers did their best and assisted and taught learners in creative and innovative ways, as can be seen by the overall decrease in schools with a pass rate below 40% – down 1.7% to 4.1% (284 schools in total) – too many learners were left behind.

This includes students at 0% rate schools who are continuously being failed by the DBE. Many schools are falling apart and unsafe. They don’t have the basic infrastructure, like water and sanitation, in place, never mind the ability to cater to all the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic brought.

These schools have not been properly supported by the Department and it’s the learners who ultimately carries these failures into their futures. How many generations of children will continue to suffer while the Department tries to yet again get its ducks in row?

This school year has already started late because the Department failed to use the time at hand to ensure schools were ready to re-open safely. That means that the 2021 Matrics, especially those that are already facing an uphill battle due to systemic challenges, will have to work even harder to pass this year. It’s hardly a wonder that the real Matric pass rate sits at a mere 44.1%. And that the percentage of Matrics that achieved a Bachelor pass rate has declined to 36.4%.

There’s a reason we celebrate those learners that have risen above their adverse circumstances to achieve excellence every year. But these learners should also inspire the Department to do better for them. DBE should look at the circumstances at some of these schools and be ashamed of the squalor in which they allow learners to attend classes.

Schools are supposed to foster a love for learning. They should inspire creativity and innovation. They should be safe havens where learners are equipped for bright futures, not burdened and demoralized.

Issued by BaxolileNodada, DAShadow Minister of Basic Education, 23 February 2021